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Poster: AltheaRose Date: May 27, 2014 6:20am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re:Covers

OK. my name is mentioned, so naturally I have to chime in ... :-)

Part of the whole early vs late cover issue for me is that earlier covers tended to bring people TO other artists while later covers tended to be FROM others.

I don't think I'd have listened to Haggard if I hadn't heard Mama Tried. But I'm pretty sure there weren't a lot of heads who suddenly decided to check out the Beatles because of the Dead covers. It was "whoa, they're doing Day Tripper!" not "wait, that isn't their original? Who did it?"

They always had a bit of the Famous Covers, and what the heck, they can do what they want and it's fun at the moment, but it really is tougher to make a Famous Cover your own. And mostly they didn't. Even with the Dylan covers, I always hear Dylan's voice. It's harder work to make a Famous Cover your own IMO, and in the later years, they weren't working very hard at that ... although I guess, ya know, they got a good reason for taking the easy way out ...

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Poster: Dudley Dead Date: May 27, 2014 8:18am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Re:Covers

There is a lot of great music I discovered through the Dead . You point to the lack of originality in their latter choices . I think their latter day blues choices were often not very challenging . All you had to do was dig a little deeper into , say , a Muddy Waters comp., to do a lesser known song, and it still would be great .
I think a good test is, "what would a NON Deadhead think" . Unless they are totally biased against the band, or a super purest, I think most of those earlier covers would at least get the "it's ok" nod . I remember a Head friend of mine telling another music friend of that the Dead were covering "The Lat Time", ...silence and a look that said "LAME" all over it . And my Deadhead friend sheepishly "...well they sort of do it in their own sort of way" . But it was LAME, they just didn't come up with a version that would work . I would be embarrassed to play it for someone else . Just because you like it, doesn't mean you can play it .
Their Dylan covers generally faired better , but "Heaven's Door" , and "Watchtower" , are hardly original choices . I though when they covered slightly less well know Dylan songs for example, "Memphis Blues Again" it worked . I would have been nice if they would have done some later Dylan, I know they talked about it . Jerry covered more 70's Dylan with his band, (big kudos for "SeƱor"), and it would have been cool if they snagged something form, say "Infidels" or "Oh Mercy" (Kudos for Weir for covering "Most of the Time" ) .
A special mention, always need be made for some of those late Vince(God rest him, poor Vince ) covers . If you cover "Tomorrow Never Knows" you had better bring something to the table . What we get is a bad bar bad version . Hubris . And "Baba O'Reily" , as fine as the song is, is standard AOR fodder . If Jerry had lived would we be treated to "Free-bird", or "Stairway to Heaven" ?...